Safety and comfort should always be a top priority in a care home, yet in many instances, it is not. Elderly residents have a right to be treated with compassion and respect and the care home environment needs to meet their needs. As you get older, you are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries – a minor fall can easily lead to fractured limbs and extended hospital stays. It is very important that a care home makes its residents feel safe and protected at all times. For this reason, interior design is a big issue.

When designing a regular home, attention is typically paid to floor coverings, window treatments, the walls, and soft furnishings. Once decisions have been made in this area, it is time to invest in some suitable furniture.

The process is no different when designing the interior of a care home, except for one crucial difference. Whereas safety is important in a home, it is not the deciding factor when making design decisions in a care home.

The Basics

Make sure doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs and doors are soft close to prevent accidents. Watch out for sharp corners and trip hazards. Install emergency lighting and soft lighting for hallways and public areas at night.

Flooring

Flooring needs to be comfortable, attractive, but above all else, safe. Hardwood flooring and laminate flooring is a popular choice for a modern home, but this is not appropriate in a care home. Elderly residents are generally less steady on their feet. Carpet is a better choice as it is soft underfoot and less slippery. A short-pile, wool twist carpet is suitable for walking aids and can be cleaned if necessary. It also provides a degree of cushioning if a person were to fall over.

Soft Furnishings

Rugs look attractive, but they represent a trip hazard in a care home, so are best avoided. If you want to add colour to a decorative scheme, use throw cushions on sofas or attractive blinds or curtains. Allow the residents to have a say in the colour scheme or let them choose their own soft furnishings if you are redecorating their bedroom.

Furniture

Furniture needs to be fit for purpose. Many elderly residents require specialist beds, but most of them don’t want their bed to look like a hospital bed. Instead, they want a bed that blends in with the décor of the room. Double electric beds from BaKare are perfect for care homes where one partner needs more assistance, but there are many other options available, including dementia beds with padded headboards and side rails.

Residents will appreciate a selection of chairs where they can relax or entertain visitors. Look for chairs that offer extra support, such as high back chairs or electric chairs that enable someone to reach a standing position without assistance.

Whilst safety is undoubtedly a priority, comfort and aesthetics need not be sacrificed in the process. It is essential that residents have a nice place to enjoy their retirement – and with the right décor and furniture in place, this should be possible.

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